Sony Online Entertainment has announced that four of their MMOs will be shut down later this year: Wizardry Online, Free Realms, Vanguard, and Clone Wars Adventures. Free Realms and Clone Wars are set to shut down March 31st with Wizardry and Vanguard following on July 31st. Sony attributes the sunsetting of Free Realms and Clone Wars as being due to its user base growing up and finding new games, while Wizardry Online was due to a mutual agreement with the publisher. In the case of Vanguard, SOE was unable to get past technical issues with the game’s outdated engine.
player population numbers have decreased making it difficult to justify the resources needed to support and update this game. This is an older game and we’re experiencing more and more technical challenges to continue running and updating it in a way you deserve. Simply put, these are issues that cannot be fixed in the long term and as a player, we would be doing you a disservice and going against our company commitment to provide the best gameplay experiences. So given this information, sunsetting the game later this year is the inevitable conclusion.
Vanguard is the oldest title to shut down, having launched in 2007, with Free Realms and Clone Wars going live in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Wizardry Online launched last January. Vanguard being shut down is especially saddening when you consider that (prior to being stopped by technical issues) the company seemed rather excited to start working on it. Still, the good news is that workers affected by the shutdowns were apparently absorbed into the SOE hive mind to work on other projects.